My review & pics of Joseph Gordon-Levitt “Don Jon” World Premiere Q&A 2013 Sundance Film Festival

On Saturday, January 19, 2013 I attended the highly anticipated World Premiere of Don Jon (played here as Don Jon's Addiction) at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah. The sold-out screening was held in the 1270-seat Eccles Theatre. The film was a selection in the Premieres section.

Sundance Film Festival resident auteur Joseph Gordon-Levitt brings his 37th feature to Park City this year, the self-penned directorial debut Don Jon. He stars as "Don Jon" Martello, a smooth operator from New Joisey who fits every macho Italian stereotype there is -- with one exception. He busts the notion that continual one-night stands, or even having a steady girlfriend, eliminate the need/desire to, umm, pleasure oneself on a regular basis. In Jon's case, that means several dozen times a week, primarily assisted by the hot babes at Pornhub.com (an actual site which allowed the use of its site and material in the film).

Tony Danza is uncharacteristically brash as his father, no small feat as Gordon-Levitt explained in the Q&A -- he's just too charming and had to be directed to "be angrier" in take after take. Standouts in support include Julianne Moore (!) as a caring cougar, Scarlett Johansson as a would-be girlfriend, and Brie Larson as the sister who doesn't speak a word other than those she types on her phone every time she's on screen.

This is a rapid-fire, laugh out loud comedy that glosses over what is a real issue today although the consequences of his compulsion -- including the inability to sustain a relationship -- are readily apparent. The film is visually sharp, as well, with high production values owing to Gordon-Levitt's long career and trail of industry veterans eager to offer their services to him. The slick look and frenetic pace of the film is a tribute to the topnotch work of cinematographer Thomas Kloss (Fear, 2011's Conan the Barbarian) and editor Lauren Zuckerman. She cut Drive, The Deep End, and two of my recent fest faves -- Tanner Hall (GenArt 2010) and Jayne Mansfield's Car (Toronto 2012).

In what has come to be known as "Porndance," this is another film that truly fits the description. It isn't just one of many Sundance films involving sex and skin this year -- Don Jon is one of several with pornography as its subject (others I saw were Lovelace, Interior. Leather Bar., and The Look of Love). While the videos being viewed by our protagonist are somewhat graphic, they are very carefully edited to include no more than what one would expect in an R-rated picture. There is no real pornography depicted, although what is implied may be more shocking than what is shown. Relativity Media picked up the film for a reported $4 million, one of the more expensive acquisitions of the festival. It should do well in theaters and should have no problem avoiding NC-17 from the MPAA.

Writer/director/star Joseph Gordon-Levitt took the stage after the screening for an entertaining and provocative Q&A session.

Here are some pictures I shot during the Q&A:


INTRO AND Q&A GALLERY (67 photos on 4 pages)



Author

Larry Richman

Larry Richman

For 20 years I was a professional in the entertainment industry, from commercial broadcast radio in America's fourth largest market to band management to record production. But my passion is independent film, and I spend much of the year traveling to film festivals to see indies and meet the actors, directors, and others responsible for creating them. I'm a writer, photographer, and videographer, currently serving as Senior Vice President for Media & Technology and Public Relations at PROnetworks as well as Editor at Larry411.com

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  • Author: Larry Richman
  • Posted: January 29, 2013
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